Navigating the Regulations Behind Baby Names

By Cole Purvis
Concept of choosing baby name. Pink and blue decorative straw cradles with thread hearts and text name? on light background

Choosing the perfect name for your bundle of joy is one of the most exciting parts of parenthood. However, did you know that in some parts of the world, including the United States, certain names are actually illegal? While some restrictions are understandable, others might surprise you with their strangeness or specificity. How can parents can ensure their child’s name is legal and appropriate for whatever country they may reside in? Let’s dive into the fascinating world of forbidden baby names and explore the regulations behind baby names.

Banned names in the United States

The U.S., relative to most other countries in the world, is very lenient when it comes to naming children. Names are considered a form of expression and, therefore, greatly protected by The First Amendment. However, issues may arise when a name is considered controversial, spreads hate, is simply confusing or does not comply with administrative processes. Per U.S. Birth Certificates, common naming restrictions include obscene or derogatory terms, offensive names, foreign characters, numbers, diacritical marks (such as accents, tildes and other stress marks), hyphens, asterisks and apostrophes.

Names that have been banned in parts of the U.S:

  • 1069
  • @ (pronounced “at”)
  • Jesus Christ
  • Roman numerals pronounced “three” • King/Queen

It’s important to remember that the rules for names vary by state. A name that is banned in one part of the country might not be in the other and vice versa. Kentucky, for example, is one of a few states in the nation that have no naming laws in place. Fortunately for Sunshine State residents, Florida does not have any strict laws or regulations in place regarding what you can and cannot include within your child’s name.

Banned names across the globe

Countries around the world have different ideals and values than the ones many of us are accustomed to in the U.S. As such, prohibited names can vary tremendously by country. In fact, did you know that a name as common as Sarah is illegal to have in Morocco?

Names that are illegal across the world — from weird to weirder.

  • Robocop (Mexico)
  • Friday (Italy)
  • Blue (Italy)
  • Metallica (Sweden)
  • Sarah (Morocco)
  • Linda (Saudi Arabia)
  • BRFXXCCXXMNPCCCCLLLMMNPRXVCLMNCK SSQLBB1111 (pronounced as “Albin”) (Sweden)
  • 007(Malaysia)
  • Talula Does the Hula from Hawaii (New Zealand)

An essential tip for parents, regardless of location, is to research the baby name laws and regulations in your country or region before naming your child, especially if you anticipate them being a citizen of a nation outside of the U.S. as well. Consulting official government websites or seeking guidance from legal professionals can help clarify any uncertainties regarding proposed names. Of course, as a last resort, you can always have a different legal name in a foreign country given you have completed the proper paperwork.

Back Pain in Pregnancy: Is it Inevitable?

Eating Right After Baby: The Postpartum Diet

What should you pack in your labor and delivery bag?